Thailand is one of the top 10 producers and exporters of processed foods worldwide. Food processing increases the added value of Thail agricultural produce. Thailand’s food processing sector is heavily export-oriented with more than 50 percent of production sold outside the country
Thailand’s food processing industry has developed rapidly throughout the past decade and is one of the most developed in South East Asia. The country’s natural resources, year-round growing season, relatively low labor costs, and skilled, well-educated workforce provide Thailand with competitive advantages in the food processing arena. Thailand produces more than 80 percent of the raw materials its food industry uses.
Its main products are frozen shrimp, sugar, poultry, canned tuna, confectionery and snacks, canned pineapple and tapioca.
Thailand’s food processing sector began to develop in the 1960s as the Royal Thai government encouraged technology transfer. Importing technology from Japan and Taiwan to process sweetened condensed milk, canned fruits and vegetables, and vegetable oil, modernized the food industry, and exports of Thai processed foods increased significantly.
The industry grew rapidly in the 1980s with increased market demand and the importation of new and advanced technologies from the United States and Europe. During the following decade, exports of frozen and chilled commodities surged.
The 1990s through the present time have seen a greater emphasis on quality, hygiene, sanitation food safety, wholesomeness, lowered production costs, value-addition, and adherence to environmental regulations in Thailand, in response to international competition and demand.
Thai and international authorized food safety agencies, as well as third-party organizations certify standards applied to agriculture commodities and food for foreign consumption. Thai standards adhere to such international standards as Codex, OIE Standards, and the International Plant Protection Convention, and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP). Quality assurance systems are also mandatory for products such as canned and some processed foods.